Renewal of Vows – Br. Rafael Ramos
In last Thursday’s gospel (Mt 25, 1-13) we find a very important symbol, the oil that lit the lamps of these absent-minded virgins. The point is that this oil that is mentioned in the gospel has a non-transferable character, one cannot pass oil to others.
In the same way, over the years I have gradually come to understand that the vows also have a non-transferable character. If I do not live poverty, chastity and obedience, no one else will do it for me. For this reason, it must be a free and conscious decision.
But what is conscience? What is freedom? Moreover, what are the things that prevent me from finding that desired freedom? Of course, experience, conscience and human maturity are very important, they help us to enjoy community life, but the fundamental ingredient of the vows is neither conscience nor maturity, because the only thing that sometimes remains is God who sustains me and who gives fulfillment to the vows that I profess. The main thing is to know that grace is doing everything and that in the end it is Christ who is with me.
Normally in this type of events we, religious, have a lot of things on our minds: the liturgy, the streaming, the food, etc. It is difficult to say that we live this moment fully, some of us even idealize it. However, I think that sometimes even God wants it that way so that we understand that our religious profession is His work. It is as if God were saying to me: “Take care of your business, and I will see to it that, by my grace, you bring to a successful conclusion what you promise today”.
On the other hand, St. Augustine inspires me to continue seeking rest in God, because I am also stubborn, restless and sometimes even mischievous… only “sometimes”. But the saint of Hippo teaches me that, deep inside me, there is the Spirit pushing me to seek fulfillment in God in spite of my limitations and that I must leave everything behind, little by little, every day.
At this very moment I am happy, grateful to God, to my family, to my brothers and friends, because they are not only with me on this occasion, but every day.
Many congratulations to all Augustinians, let us continue to seek God who dwells within us so that our restless heart may find its rest. Thank you.